It is exciting that the Jonesboro Public School System is considering transitioning to a magnet school structure. Magnet schools have been around for 30 plus years across the United States and were established to give students an opportunity to focus on specific subjects such as the sciences or the arts.
Magnet Schools offer students an opportunity to discover their talents and explore their interests while focusing on strong academic excellence. These exciting and innovative schools provide educational opportunities for students who benefit from a range of themes or teaching philosophies that include performing arts, math, science and technology, international studies, and other themes. Magnet schools support the mission that all students will have the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to realize their potential.
Their theme-based approach promotes many of the factors associated with effective schools, chiefly, innovation in program and practice, staff and curricular coherence, increased parent and community involvement, and greater student engagement. In the best of magnet schools, this adds up to higher student achievement.
The Batesville School District initiated a Magnet School program in 2004 with higher student achievement as their ultimate goal. Jack Sanders, principal at the Sulphur Rock Math and Science Magnet School, says they have achieved this goal by creating opportunities for students to apply key skills in concepts in theme based activities; As parents have seen an increase in student achievement and interest in school studies and activities, the district has had a significant increase in the student enrollment since implementing the magnet program."
Based on those comments I would say that Batesville is very pleased with their decision regarding magnet schools.
JPS has handled this decision appropriately by visiting other magnet schools, involving parents and teachers and spending several months researching this major conversion.
We commend the Jonesboro Public Schools for making the decision to initiate a Magnet School program and we're confident higher student achievement will soon follow.